It is almost a necessity of any theme park geek to own (or have owned) an Annual Pass to any theme park. With a wide variety of theme parks around the globe, there’s plenty of options for you to choose from. In the UK, the Merlin Annual Pass is the ‘main’ choice to choose from however there are smaller theme parks around the UK that offer season/annual passes such as Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Paultons Park.
I currently own a Merlin Annual Pass which allows me to visit up to 32 ‘magical worlds’ as they describe it. And in 2014, I was once an owner of a Europa Park Annual Pass – although I so wonder why I haven’t purchased another one since! In my opinion, depending on an individual’s circumstances, it is worth it if you can use it to it’s ‘full potential’. By that, I mean making use of the pass by visiting the attraction/s on offer, utilising the discounts available to you and if applicable, enjoying the perks on offer such as special events.
So, let’s get on with some of the perks of being a passholder (for any theme park around the world!)…
Free Year-Round Entry
As a theme park geek, it would seem abnormal of me to not visit theme parks regularly. But with the sheer cost of entry prices, it can be off putting! However, with an annual pass, you get entry into the selected theme parks for free, all year round! What is not to love about that? Since I live along the South Coast, I can really make the most of my Merlin Annual Pass with local attractions such as Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures. There are also Legoland Windsor and the London Midway attractions (London Eye, Madame Tussauds, London Dungeons etc.) Of course, if I wanted to travel further afield, I can visit Alton Towers as a weekend trip or visit the other Midway attractions around the UK (Birmingham/Blackpool/Brighton/York et.al.)
Free/Discounted entry for your friends and family
This perk is one of my favourites! I have friends who don’t have annual passes which can make getting into theme parks expensive or difficult to achieve – 2-for-1’s are great for a group but if it’s just you and one other mate, it’s tricky! Having the opportunity to provide free tickets or discounted entry makes you very popular with your mates!
Discounts on food/drinks, accommodation & MERCH!
I love theme park merch. I love it even more when I can get a discount off it. Even though the Merlin Annual Pass offers 20%, this is actually very reasonable – especially with the sheer cost of food at the parks these days. Okay, it is marginally cheaper to bring in your own food/picnic but that sometimes involves lugging it around with you for the first part of the day. Besides, there are a wide variety of food options at theme parks – some more than others but it isn’t all burger & chips or pizzas. There is also the benefit of gaining discount for the park hotels, making your stay even cheaper and still be right on the doorstep of your favourite theme park! The discount is very welcome in my eyes and perfect for buying merch – give me all the pins!
Allow yourself to be immersed with theme park passholder events. These are definitely worth attending as you’ll be one of the first to experience new rides or attractions, special events such as Halloween – I know Thorpe Park do a Passholder Fright Nights preview event – and many more. This is certainly a good chance to enjoy the theme parks without the busy queues and to feel like you get that little extra for being a passholder. Definitely a worthwhile perk, especially for families!
Entry to ‘partner’ theme parks
I know when I had the Europa Park Annual Pass, I was able to get free entry into Phantasialand and Liseberg (plus other attractions!). This is a perk that honestly, is the best thing and makes that big expense of purchasing a pass more worthwhile. It is great have a year’s free entry into one of your favourite theme parks, but to be able to experience more theme park with ‘free entry’ as well – even if it’s for one day, is great! Don’t mind me, I’m off to purchase another Europa Park Annual Pass (or Clubcard) as they call it!
So, as you can see here, these are a few reasons why being a passholder is a good investment! Of course, depending on which annual pass level you have determines which perks are available to you. Remember that for the ‘basic’ Annual Passes (no matter which theme park) will have restrictions. What Annual Passes do you hold, if any? Let me know in the comments below!
That’s all for now!